How to Change Your Moonroof

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How to Change Your Moonroof

The terms "sunroof" and "moonroof" are typically used interchangeably; there is only one "real" difference between the two, and that is that moonroofs are traditionally made of clear glass, while sunroofs can be made out of metal or a combination of materials. Despite this differences, moonroofs and sunroofs do, in the end, perform the same function: to let light and refreshing air into one's vehicle.

Even with the differing terms, moonroofs and sunroofs are essentially the same thing, and if the user is not able to find a product labeled as a "moonroof" that fits his or her requirements, a sunroof acts as a perfect substitute. As a car owner, the user may want to know how to change and fix his or her moonroof without having to go to an expensive mechanic; being more knowledgeable about one's car leads to one enjoying one's car more. Once the car owner has learned about moonroofs in general, as well as how to change and fix them, he or she can start perusing eBay to find moonroofs and their parts.

Types of Moonroofs

There are three main types of moonroofs; these types are divided by how much they open and how they are powered. The first type is a static moonroof; this panel does not open at all, but lets natural light into one's vehicle. The second type is a manual moonroof which, like the name implies, is powered manually and can be tilted open a few inches by unclipping the lock and setting it at "open", thus pushing the moonroof upward. This type of panel does not open fully. The third and final type is an electronic sliding moonroof that can be controlled with a dual switch. This switch allows the user two options: one, to lift the moonroof, or two, to slide it all the way open. A sliding moonroof may include a wind spoiler, which lessens wind resistance.

Removing a Moonroof

First, the consumer must disconnect any electronic motors that make the moonroof run; completely disconnecting the battery of the car is not a bad idea either, as this insures that nothing is damaged and no one is hurt. Next, any clamps or hinges that are locking the moonroof in place must be removed. After that, the glass from the moonroof can be lifted out of the roof. If there is any trim on the edge on the inside of the frame, the user should detach that next. Next, the inner ring that holds the headliner in place must be popped out. From there, the car owner can start unscrewing the bolts or screws that hold the frame in place.

After the screws are taken out, if the owner has a wind deflector installed in his or her moonroof, that must be removed next. Then, a silicone sealant remover should be applied on the frame edges and allowed to sit undisturbed for 15 minutes; this helps to loosen the frame from the roof of the car. To actually remove the frame, the owner is advised to wrap a tool such as a chisel or a dowel with a towel, then use a hammer to pry the frame from the car with care. If the frame does not come off easily, then let the sealant remover sit for a little while longer. Once the frame is out of the car roof, any silicone residue should be cleaned off the car, using rubbing alcohol and a coarse rag. Once the roof is clean, then the user has successfully taken off the moonroof of his or her car, and is ready to install a new one.

Installing a New Moonroof

After the old moonroof is completely removed and all debris are cleaned from the area, the user's car is ready to have a new moonroof installed. First, the new panel must be placed in the opening where the old moonroof resided. If the moonroof is electronic, then the consumer should cut off excess wires using tin snips, and ensure that the motor is off before beginning. With the moonroof in place, attach it to the car with screws. For a better fit, those who are proficient at welding can use a welding torch or machine to fix any size errors. Before welding, however, the owner should test out all the hinges and latches to make sure they work properly and are secure.

Making Repairs to a Moonroof

Though installing a moonroof into a car that does not already have one is a job for someone with extensive knowledge and experience with cars, making small repairs is a task that almost any car owner can perform. If one is familiar with one's own car and knows about tools and vehicle terminology, then problems such as leaking or stuck moonroofs can be done in one's own drive.


Since moonroofs are designed to let only sun and air in, having water drip down from the roof is a problem that should be looked at immediately. There are two possible ways the user can fix a leaking moonroof, and it would be useful to the consumer to be knowledgeable about each possible solution.

Fixing with Air

Each moonroof (and sunroof), has a trough that is designed to catch any water that gets through the panel. It may be possible that this trough is clogged with debris; the simple solution is to wipe it clean with a rag. Also designed to ensure that water does not enter the car are the drain tubes, these are usually located at the base of the moonroof seal. The user can blast compressed air through the drain tubes to fully clean out any and all debris that is preventing water from being carried out of the car.

Fixing with Metal Wires

If using compressed air does not work to clean out the drain tubes, inserting a skinny, flexible wire can clear out dirtied drain tubes. For further cleaning with this wire, the car owner can carefully twist the wire clockwise, then anticlockwise while pushing the wire deeper into the drain tube. This helps push dirt and debris out of the tube as it pushes through the length of the tube. If the user feels resistance while pushing the wire, this could mean that the tube is in danger of being damaged, and should not be pushed any further.

Stuck Moonroof

If the consumer finds his or her moonroof to be stuck, they can start to make repairs by first making sure the car is on; if the moonroof is powered electronically, it cannot operate until the car's engine is running. Next, check to see if the moonroof's shade is completely retracted; then check the tracks of the panel for any dirt or debris that could be preventing the moonroof from opening or closing. These tracks should be cleaned regularly to prevent this occurrence. Additionally, the buttons that operate the moonroof inside the car may have debris on them, and should be cleaned as well. If the moonroof still is stuck, then at this point the user should take the car to a mechanic to get it properly looked at.

How to Buy on eBay

To start looking at and purchasing moonroofs, one must first go to the eBay home page. From there, you can type in keywords that relate to the item you're looking for, such as "moonroof". To narrow down the results, select specific categories that you want to search by or that you want your item to have; for example, you can search for items by naming a certain price or price range, car make, and so on.

eBay uses a "Top-Rated Seller" program to ensure consumers feel safe about purchasing items online. Buyers can choose to purchase from only those who are named Top-Rated Sellers on eBay if they wish; a Top-Rated Seller is one that has met a few selling quotas set by eBay, and who has received consistently positive feedback from previous buyers. If you decide by purchase an item from a Top-Rated Seller, this means that you will receive the item that was offered by the seller in a timely fashion.


Often seen as a luxury and as a desirable feature, moonroofs have been appearing in more and more cars, trucks, minivans, and vans in the past five to ten years. Particularly desired on long road trips, when the air can get stuffy inside the vehicle, as well as in the summer months, moonroofs make a great addition to any car. Moonroofs also have the added bonus of adding value to one's car, not only in the aesthetic sense but in a monetary sense as well.

When the car owner the user is knowledgeable about moonroofs, and knows how to remove, install, and repair them, he or she can purchase a new one with confidence and ease. Buyers can even find the ideal moonroof from the comfort of home by using eBay, which is not only convenient, but has millions of products offered by thousands of sellers. Additionally, with new products being offered for sale every day, buyers have many opportunities to find the right moonroof for their car.

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